Last Sunday, a member of the congregation asked me why I park so far away from the church building. So, in this edition of frequently asked questions for the preacher, here goes: I park far away from the entrance for two reasons – the mission field and my health.
The mission field is the community to which I have been appointed. There are just over 18,000 people that live within five miles of Berryton United Methodist Church. Over 10,000 of these people are not involved in a religious congregation or community. This is the mission field.
Parking away from the entrance to the building makes sure that there are spaces that are closer for people who may show up for the first time that day. I want to do everything that I can to help welcome people who come to the congregation and a little closer parking spot may help. Also, as I am walking toward the building I am mindful of the cars that will fill the lot and pray for all those that will gather for worship. The walk also offers time to consider those in our community who are not yet connected with a congregation. I am able to reflect on these persons and consider how the choices that I make as a leader in this congregation is helping share God’s love with those who have not yet heard.
Also, I want to stay as healthy as I am able. One healthy habit that I track is parking at the far end of the parking lot each day. This small step adds activity to my day and health to my life.
So, why do I park far away? For a healthy congregation and body.
I received this question from a blog reader like you. Do you have a question? Check out this post to let me know.
At The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, our facilities are fully accessible according to ADA guidelines. In regard to the particular questions from the reader:
- Is it easy to get in the door to the church? Yes. There are automatic door openers at each door to the West Building and several main doors in the East Building.
- Are their spaces reserved for wheelchairs in the auditorium? Yes. In many of the sections on the main level.
- Are your handicapped parking spaces accessible for vans with ramps? Yes. Not all of the handicapped parking spaces are accessible for vans with ramps, but there are some that are available.
- Is it easy for a person in a wheelchair to use your bathrooms? This is a more difficult question for me, but I believe so. This is based on ADA compliance. I do not know from a conversation or personal experience.
- What other provisions do you have for people in wheelchairs? Before the worship service, parking attendants guide those who are in need of priority parking to the right places. Additional assistance may be provided by ushers if necessary.
This question has meaning beyond facilities. I believe that our church is handicap accessible in our purpose, vision, journey, programs and ministries. I believe that, as the church, it is essential to be inclusive of all people and to communicate that God loves them, we love them and that life can be different [through Jesus Christ]. (Thanks to Mike Chamberlain for the last three points.)
Is the church handicap accessible? Yes and it should continue to be in physical facilities and in spirit of the community.